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Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Paddy rice price fluctuates

Paddy rice price fluctuates

121106_08
Paddy rice is laid out to dry in Prey Veng province. Photograph: Derek Stout/Phnom Penh Post

The price of paddy rice in Cambodia’s northwestern provinces jumped to 1,500 riel from 1,350 riel per kilogram in mid-October on a lack of supply, but quickly fell to 1,360 riel. Meanwhile, the prices in the Cambodia-Vietnam border provinces rose from 1,300 riel to 1,390 riel per kilogram, according to rice traders.

Lim Bunheng, president of the Loran Group, which has rice mills in Battambang province, and president of the Rice Traders Association, said the price of fragrant paddy rice jumped to 1,500 riel per kilogram in mid-October, but more recently dropped to 1,360 riel.

He said the increases in northwestern provinces resulted from minimal harvesting during a time when rice millers needed paddy rice to process for export. But, when harvesting increased shortly after the price jump, the price dropped. “The price was high at that time because we wanted to buy paddy rice for milling to export overseas,” he said.

During November, Loran has scheduled exports to Singapore and Malaysia – with a total of 1,000 tonnes of millied fragrant rice. Additionally, Loran will export about 400 tonnes of white rice to the EU.

According to last year’s report in the Post, the price of fragrant paddy rice was at 1,350 riel per kilogram, while the price in 2010 was at 1,050 to 1,060 riel per kilogram.

Sen Rith, president of Siem Reap Rice Milling Association, noted that the amount of land for cultivating fragrant paddy rice seemed larger but said the price change is not significant enough to notice in comparison to changes in previous years.

He said the price of milled rice around the world is stable; but if the price of paddy in Cambodia is unstable, it is as a result of rice traders who inflate prices, causing a bubble. “If the price drops during harvesting season, and it is higher after that, it is the trader’s problem because prices in the world markets are stable,” he said.

Mom Sophal, a rice miller in Kandal province, said he started to buy newly harvested fragrant paddy rice about a month ago and he noted that the price jumped from around 1,300 riel to 1,390 riel per kilogram.

He said the price jumped because many Vietnamese traders crossed the border to buy Cambodian paddy rice. “If we don’t follow their lead and increase the prices, all the paddy rice will flow to Vietnam.”

Mao Thora, secretary of state for the Ministry of Commerce, said he does not fully understand the situation surrounding the price of paddy rice and instead referred the questions to rice traders.

When asked about implementing subsidies to try and stabilise rice prices similar to Thailand’s policy, Mao Thora said: “They [Thailand] have money; they can do it, but we don’t have money to do the same.”

To contact the reporter on this story: Rann Reuy at reuy.rann@phnompenhpost.com

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